Cleo Epps: Queen of the Bootleggers: National Bootleggers Day

Photo of Cleo Epps courtesy Tulsa World Archives.

“Lester, you’ve killed me. You didn’t have to do that,” were the reportedly the last words spoken by Cleo Epps, known in Tulsa, Oklahoma as the “Queen of the Bootleggers.” That was November 12, 1970.

Lester, the man suspected of murdering Epps, was Tom Lester Pugh, who died in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in 2006. Pugh was a member of the notorious Dixie Mafia. Pugh was never convicted of her murder but was serving time on another murder charge. Albert McDonald, Cleo’s ex-boyfriend, was present at her murder and although he did not pull the trigger, he was convicted in the death of Cleo Epps.

Epps began her working life as a school teacher and ended up dead, her body stuffed inside a septic tank. Pugh was said to have murdered her as revenge for testifying against him in the case of the attempted murder of a prominent Tulsa judge.

The body of Cleo Epps was recovered in 1971 from an abandoned homestead in southwest Tulsa. The original cutline from the Tribune article of Feb. 25, 1971, states ” Officers carry Epps’ body from cistern – Tulsa and Creek County investigators and ambulance attendants are shown here taking the body of Mrs. Cleo Epps from the site near 6500 S. Union Ave., where it was found in a septic tank on an abandoned home and tavern property.” LEWIS JARRETT/Tulsa Tribune.

Epps was remembered fondly as a kind woman who was motherly to all and who didn’t even drink herself. She had obtained a college education and her first husband was an attorney.

Epps operated her bootleg business in Tulsa until 1959 when Prohibition was repealed in Oklahoma. She learned the business from her second husband whom she eventually divorced. While she may have been kindly, the bootlegging business was organized crime, and the associates she met during that time would be her undoing.

In 1966, she was indicted for keeping her hand in the moonshine business, a crime which she denied but for which she was found guilty. Her continued association with the likes of Pugh and McDonald had kept her under the watchful eye of law enforcement.

In 1970, she reluctantly agreed to testify against Pugh and McDonald, and appeared in court with a red wig. Her identity was to be protected by Tulsa’s District Attorney, but word got around.

After her body was finally recovered from the septic tank, her funeral was attended by judges, senators, congressmen and members of law enforcement. She left a large estate, owning mortgages on multiple properties. She was 60 years old.

Lester Pugh, Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections.

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National Bootlegger’s Day is observed annually on January 17.

January 17 is the birthday of Templeton Rye Whiskey and bootlegger Al Capone.

Oklahoma man found in classroom wearing loincloth & trash bag

Photo: Police say a teacher at Parker Intermediate School found Dalton Earhart inside a portable classroom building wearing only pantyhose (or some sort of sheer cloth) and a trash bag. A school security camera caught the encounter and shows police remove Earhart from the building. (Parker Intermediate School)

An Oklahoma man entered classroom fully clothed during the wee hours of January 4. Later that morning, as teacher Kydel Billy arrived to open his room for the school day, he discovered Dalton Earhart, a former student at the school, dressed only in a self-fashioned loincloth with a trash bag over his head, perhaps intending to wear the bag as a shirt.

Police arrived and escorted the man from the building. Earhart had stuck a few items taken from the room into his loincloth and torn down a few classroom decorations, but other than that, no one was harmed.

Fortunately, he was escorted off the property before children were present to witness the odd scene. Earhart was suspected to be under the influence of drugs and is now awaiting arraignment in a local jail.

 

http://NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

 

Transgender Professor Wins Landmark Decision in Discrimination Case: Awarded $1.165 million

“During that time, the human resources employee warned Dr. Tudor that Southeastern’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Douglas McMillan, had inquired whether Dr. Tudor could be fired because her “transgender lifestyle” offended his religious beliefs.”

In November 2017, a federal jury award Dr. Rachel Tudor more than one million dollars in a Civil Rights Lawsuit filed by the United States Justice Department.

Background:

On March 30, 2015 The Justice Department announced it was filing a lawsuit alleging that Southeastern Oklahoma State University discriminated against transgender woman and the Regional University System of Oklahoma for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against a transgender employee on the basis of her sex and retaliating against her when she complained about the discrimination.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced in December 2014 that the Department of Justice takes the position that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination is best read to extend the statute’s protection to claims based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status.

According to the United States’ complaint, filed in federal district court in Oklahoma City today, Rachel Tudor began working for Southeastern as an Assistant Professor in 2004.  At the time of her hire, Tudor presented as a man.  In 2007, Tudor, consistent with her gender identity, began to present as a woman at work.  Throughout her employment, Tudor performed her job well, and in 2009, she applied for a promotion to the tenured position of Associate Professor.  Southeastern’s administration denied her application, overruling the recommendations of her department chair and other tenured faculty from her department.  The United States’ complaint alleges that Southeastern discriminated against Tudor when it denied her application because of her gender identity, gender transition and non-conformance with gender stereotypes.

In 2010, Tudor filed complaints regarding the denial of her application for promotion and tenure.  Shortly after it learned of her complaints, Southeastern refused to let Tudor re-apply for promotion and tenure despite Southeastern’s own policies permitting re-application.  At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, Southeastern and RUSO terminated Tudor’s employment because she had not obtained tenure.

Tudor filed a charge of discrimination with the Oklahoma City Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Southeastern’s decisions were unlawful.  The EEOC investigated the charge and determined that there was reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred.  The EEOC’s attempts at conciliation were unsuccessful, and it referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced in December 2014 that the Department of Justice takes the position that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination is best read to extend the statute’s protection to claims based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status.

Read the full complaint filed by the United States here:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/30/doj-eeoc_complaint.pdf

ADDITIONAL FACTS LISTED IN THE COMPLAINT:

Dr. Tudor’s Employment at Southeastern Oklahoma State University

In 2004, Dr. Tudor began working at Southeastern as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Humanities, and Languages (the “English Department”). At that time, she presented as a man and went by a traditionally male name.

Dr. Tudor was the first transgender professor ever to work at Southeastern.

In the summer of 2007, Dr. Tudor notified Southeastern that she planned to transition from male to female and begin to present as a woman at work during the 2007-08 academic year.

After she informed Southeastern about her transition, Dr. Tudor received a phone call from an employee of Southeastern’s human resources office to discuss various issues related to her gender transition. During that time, the human resources employee warned Dr. Tudor that Southeastern’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Douglas McMillan, had inquired whether Dr. Tudor could be fired because her “transgender lifestyle” offended his religious beliefs. The human resources employee told Dr. Tudor that Vice President McMillan had been told that Southeastern could not fire her because she was transgender.

During the 2007-08 academic year, Dr. Tudor began to present as a woman at work by, among other things, wearing women’s clothing, styling her hair in a feminine manner, and going by the traditionally female name Rachel.

After Dr. Tudor began presenting as a woman, Jane McMillan, the director of Southeastern’s Counseling Center, told her that she should take safety precautions because some people were openly hostile towards transgender people. She also told Dr. Tudor that Vice President McMillan (who is her brother) considered transgender people to be a “grave offense to his [religious] sensibilities.”

Allegations Jail Nurse Performed Exorcism on Dying Inmate

Oklahoma County Jail Nurse Linda Herlong Jackson, an employee of Armor Correctional Health Services, faces allegations she attempted to perform on exorcism on a thrashing inmate in need of medical care. The inmate died the next day due to a methamphetamine induced heart event.

The death occurred in February of 2017, and the nurse was suspended from duties pending a full investigation. The allegations have now been turned over to the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office to determine if charges are to be filed.

Nurse Jackson denies allegations that she asked if anyone minded if she attempted to perform an exorcism. Detention officers at the jail reported hearing her exclaim, “I revoke you demons.”